With more data on more asset managers, asset manager selectors can make informed decisions. Smart decisions. Different decisions than they would make with less data.
Back in 2012, this was the initial premise behind RFPnetworks. When we looked at the classic asset manager selector toolkit, readily available data was limited to performance. Email, attachments and excel drove processes. This was not a toolkit designed for purpose. It was what was available. Then.
We saw teams struggling with continuous incoming phone calls, emails. Processes that were simply not automated, burdened data collection, sharing, documenting and general administration. The classic toolkit could not handle the non-value tasks on behalf of the manager selectors.
We saw the need for a new toolkit. One that would modernise best practices, impact performance, and empower asset manager selectors to make smarter decisions. That's why we founded RFPnetworks.
With brains, hard work and no venture capital money.
Roll forward from 2021 to 2023, RFPnetworks has evolved through 18 major releases. It has been used to fund over $50bn in searches run by some of the most pre-eminent institutional investors on the planet. It also contains the largest freely available investment manager research library globally, and is overflowing with proprietary tools. We believed that if we built the right product, the users would come. And they did. Over 5000 of them.
We have a come a long way since our inception. But like all great applications, you never reach your end destination. Innovation is the lifeblood of software and we are still innovating. As our client base grew to over 5000 users, our clients also became a new source of ideas. "We need this...can you build it?". The answer to which was "we can build anything". And we did.
What we have built would not have been possible without the exponential increase in computing power and ever more efficient code. Many of our innovations were previously not possible: Structuring data, building tools and algorithms to query data, designing dashboards and collaboration tools that enrich the user experience. These are all part of what we do everyday. And what our users do everyday.
The next three major releases are already planned.
The default asset manager selection toolkit has changed. It is no longer about emails, attachments, investment manager performance databases, and excel. Today the goto toolkit is a high-end enterprise application that increases team efficiency, decision quality and automates knowledge management. That is what we built. That is RFPnetworks.
But today is about building tomorrows tools. The third generation toolkit. In the past several years, machine learning, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence together with large language models have opened up a new wave of possibilities. Our role today is to take these possibilities and apply them to asset manager selection.
We are at the cusp of a new revolution in tooling, on the edge of some brilliant innovations that we believe will transform how asset manager selectors work in the future. It will take time to get it right. But when we do, we believe new power users will come, just like they did when we started back in 2012.